EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Town of Van Horn is preparing for Tuesday’s Blue Origin rocket launch into space and already, the event is making its mark in this small West Texas town.
The launch has rocketed the town into the national spotlight and is helping to boost tourism in the area. At Mom’s Kitchen, one of the iconic local diners in town, it’s been busier than ever. Staff told KTSM 9 News that the family-run business has seen three times more customers trying out their burritos.
“We want to see our little town grow and it’s not just going to be today, tomorrow, of course, this week is going to be grand, but for the future, we are going to be out on the map, as Van Horn, Texas, the launch of Blue Origin,” said Betty Velez, with Mom’s Kitchen.
She said the diner will be ready to open early on Tuesday to watch the launch and see their town put on the map — even out of space.
The launch is not just beneficial for Texas — an astronomy professor from New Mexico State University explained why West Texas and Southern New Mexico are so appealing to space researchers. Dr. James McAteer, head of the NMSU Astronomy Department, said this area’s popularity took off with Clyde Tombaugh, an NMSU professor in the 1950s who discovered Pluto. NASA has also done multiple projects at White Sands Missile Range.
But more than that, the main attraction is the climate, since clear skies and large areas of uninhabited land make the area ideal for research.
“The fact that we have the Tularosa base, we have a lot of space there that has been used for rockets,” McAteer said. “We have a lot of expertise regarding rocket launches and safety when it comes to rocket launches.”
You can watch a replay of the launch in the player below: